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Dell promises to simplify IoT

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As companies face the challenge of analysing massive amounts of data generated by connected devices, says Dell, computing must moves from the centre to the edge.

At the Dell EMC World expo in Las Vegas this week, Dell Technologies announced new Internet of Things (IoT) products and partnerships that it promises will help customers take the complexity out of their IoT deployments and more quickly realise Digital Transformation.

According to a recent Gartner report, there will be 20.4-billion connected things in use globally by 2020.  Companies are looking for faster, real-time analysis of the massive amount of data produced by all of these “things” on their networks. For some, it’s too expensive to move all the data from the edge of the network near the devices to the data centre. Computing at the edge helps determine which data sets are interesting, relevant and need to be sent back to the data center or the cloud for further analytics and longer term storage, saving bandwidth and reducing costs and security concerns.

Dell Technologies announced the following new IoT Products and Services:

Simplified “Things” Management – The new VMware Pulse IoT Center is a secure IoT infrastructure management solution that will enable customers to have complete control of their connected things. VMware Pulse IoT Center will help customers to more efficiently manage, operate, scale and protect their IoT projects from the edge to the cloud. Dell will be offering VMware Pulse IoT Center as the preferred enterprise management and monitoring solution for Dell Edge Gateways. By plugging Pulse IoT Center into the new EdgeX Foundry, VMware will be able to offer system and device management for the EdgeX ecosystem.

IoT Advisory Services – IoT Technology Advisory Service is a new consulting offer from Dell EMC Services to help organizations determine the key capabilities and architecture required to leverage IoT data (e.g., sensors, beacons, gateways, mobile phones, wearables, connected devices). This information can be used for initiatives such as optimizing key operational processes, reducing compliance and security risks, uncovering new revenue opportunities and creating more compelling customer engagements.

Open Source Framework for Interoperable Edge Computing – The Linux Foundation recently launched EdgeX Foundry, an open source software project chartered to build a common framework and surrounding reference platform for edge computing. It will drive interoperability between proprietary value-added applications and existing connectivity standards. It was started by a community of more than 50 companies such as AMD, Analog Devices, Dell EMC, Foghorn and VMware to enable an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that can be combined to quickly create secure and scalable IoT solutions. Dell contributed more than a dozen microservices and over 125,000 lines of source code under Apache 2.0 to seed the project, additional contributions are already underway from other members. EdgeX Foundry is architected to operate on any hardware, on any operating system and with microservices developed in any application environment for maximum scale.

Carefully Curated Partnerships

Dell has carefully curated a group of IoT software and services partners through the Dell IoT Solutions Partner and Dell EMC Partner Programs. Many partners have deep, proven expertise in industry-specific IoT challenges, and can help with everything from managing multiprotocol data sources to security to analytics. New partners recently added to the program include Atos, Bosch, GreatBay Software, ForgeRock, IOTech, Mocana and Modius.

Today’s key IoT partner news includes:

  • Dell and Bosch have jointly developed an Industry 4.0 jump start kit to help customers implement IoT projects quickly to realize faster ROI. The kit consists of multiple Bosch XDK sensors, a Dell Edge Gateway, ready-to-go use-cases, cloud integration and software, all preconfigured.
  • Atos and Dell EMC are working together to build an IoT service management framework, Atos Codex IoT Services, to allow customers to be assured that all users can continuously create value from their connected devices.

Dell Technologies – An IoT Heavyweight

Dell Technologies is the industry’s broadest Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure solutions provider. The company offers a complete edge-to-core-to-cloud portfolio of infrastructure for IoT solutions that includes everything from infrastructure, embedded PCs, IoT gateways, security and manageability solutions and more.

Dell Technologies’ capabilities in IoT allow for fast innovation and simplified integration and include:

  • More than 30 years of IT heritage and more than 15 years of operations technology (OT) experience through the Dell EMC OEM Solutions team – deep understanding of both IT and OT, critical for successful IoT implementations
  • Technology and expertise of Pivotal to rapidly develop and update cloud-native software
  • Dell EMC infrastructure for storing and analyzing the data that the “things” generate
  • Ruggedized, purpose-built IoT hardware designed to collect data at the edge of the network including Dell Edge Gateways and Dell Embedded Box PCs
  • A curated Dell IoT Solutions Partner Program with more than 70 technology and services partners
  • Trusted security solutions from RSA and SecureWorks that ensure data is transferred securely and quickly
  • Industry-leading global service and support and financing options

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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